Loosely based on The Reluctant Debutante (1958) starring Sandra Dee, this family-friendly comedy features popular Nickelodeon teen star Amanda Bynes in her first feature-starring performance after her debut in Big Fat Liar (2002). She plays teenager Daphne Reynolds, who lives in New York City with her musician mother, Libby Reynolds (Kelly Preston). After she turns seventeen, Daphne is undecided about her future, so she takes off by herself to London in search of her father. She immediately meets cute musician Ian Wallace (Oliver James) before sneaking in to her father's estate to surprise him. He turns out to be Lord Henry Dashwood (Colin Firth), a fabulously wealthy aristocrat who doesn't even know that she exists. He had met her mother in Morocco and the two were married in a tribal ceremony. Upon their return to England, she left him and went back to the U.S. without ever revealing that she was pregnant. The uptight Henry is already flustered by his campaign for election, advised ...
Dennie Gordon has directed this comedy with sure hand. The play by William Douglas-Home was a hit in the London stage and it was filmed before as The Reluctant Debutante with Rex Harrison, Kay Kendall, Sandra Dee, John Saxon and Angela Lansbury in the cast. This new take on the same story is fun basically because of the cast that was assembled to play the main characters.
Amanda Bynes has the right amount of charm to make her Daphne an endearing teen who is in search for a father she never knew. Colin Firth is a very good as the father. Kelly Preston has very little to do and it's a shame. Eileen Atkins, as the would be grandmother doesn't fare better, as it's the case with Jonathan Pryce.
I recently caught up with it on DVD format and all that can be said is that it was mildly amusing as a typical comedy of this genre.
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